Content Aggregation For Links, Traffic And Buzz

As the pace of content being added to the web increases, the value of aggregating the best of it goes up.  If you’re a content producer of any variety, researching, collecting and then putting together the best material you can find is huge, especially if you’ve got an eye for top content in your niche.

For this post, I am not talking about scripting content, I am talking about manually collecting it and being a human aggregator of the best, editorially chosen material.  I know that’s not the usual definition of aggregation on the web, but I think the actual, not buzzword definition of the word works to describe this strategy.

Editorially chosen content aggregation is successful for a variety of reasons:

  • Helping others find signal in the noise positions you as a go-to source for your niche.
  • Due to the nature of social media, when you aggregate original material from around the web those content producers will get pinged.  If they like how you aggregated them and you added value, they’ll likely share it.
  • As social communities rise and fall, search engines come and go, and other trends pass us by – there will always be a need for skilled editors/aggregators with an eye for quality material – that never goes out of style.
  • Inevitably, aggregated lists get shared across the web – especially if they are undeniably useful, interesting, or have a unique spin.  They take a lot of effort to do properly, but in the end they are too valuable to ignore.
  • Good aggregated posts are flagship content – essentially this means it is evergreen.  They’re the posts that can become the bread-and-butter of your site traffic and help introduce you to many readers.
  • Useful aggregation is seen as the ultimate resource, and can net hundreds, sometimes thousands of links and achieve consistent attention.

With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to list some of the better content aggregation ideas that foster links, buzz, attention and connections:

Aggregation idea 1

Useful material from other content producers under a similar theme

Why this works
You’re pinging multiple people at once, so inevitably it will get shared, especially if all the links are of high quality.  Also, you’re introducing readers to new sources.  This is win-win, just be sure to pick a unique theme and/or aggregate the content in a creative way.  Add value here by adding context to the posts, using images, etc. – essentially make it even more interesting than just links to posts and it will spread.

A quick example
Adobe Illustrator Tutorials:  Best Of

Aggregation idea 2

YouTube videos in your niche

Why this works
There is so much content on YouTube, you’d never be able to sort through it all.  Dig through the site to find those hidden gems your readers will love.  Find what people want to see but didn’t even realize exists – no question it is out there.

A quick example
The 20 Top YouTube And Video Memes Of All Time

Aggregation idea 3

Comments/tips/strategies/ideas from thought leaders in your niche

Why This Works
Adding the thoughts of the top minds together in one spot will prove to be an unmissable resource.  Most well-known people across industries are busy, but you would be surprised how willing they are to take the time to give a strong response to something interesting.  The worst that can happen is they’ll say no, and then you just move on to someone else.  The truth is popular people didn’t get to that point by being closed off.

A quick example:
25 Must Read Social Media Marketing Tips

Aggregation idea 4

Self-aggregate your most popular posts or specific type of posts

Why this works
People don’t necessarily dig through the archives, plus you frequently get new subscribers that are not always caught up on your discussions throughout the month.  This is also a good way to keep your community up to speed in case they missed something.

Two quick examples
Most Popular Posts:  May 2009
42 Marketing Lists from The Future Buzz

Aggregation idea 5

Interesting stats, facts or figures from your niche

Why this works
People are always on the lookout for useful stats, facts and figures – especially in cases they can use that data to support their own decisions.  They’re not only a strong resource, they’re interesting and entertaining.

A quick example:
49 Amazing Social Media, Web 2.0 And Internet Stats

I’ll even share the stats on this one as they’re rather good – notice that the post continues to receive traffic beyond the initial bump in attention, as many continue to share/bookmark/link it:


Aggregation idea 6

Content under creative commons under a similar theme

Why this works

The quality of work out there under a creative commons license is amazing.  Artists take the time to put their work out there under this so that it spreads – so you’re doing them a favor by using it.  At the same time, you’re sharing interesting and on-topic material with readers that has to do with your niche.

Four examples
50 Inspirational Images From Flickr Under Creative Commons
30 Evocative Flickr Images To Describe The Impending Death of TV
50 Inspirational Images to Inspire Blog Titles
Long Exposure Photography: 15 Stunning Examples

Aggregation idea 7

Quotes from interesting, relevant people

Why this works
People love quotes, and this is a way to quickly curate interesting, useful, inspiring or funny quotes from those in your niche.  There’s the old adage that people view quotes as more substantial than the original thought, as a quote adds authority to a statement.

A quick example
50 Thoughful, Funny and Polemic Blogging Quotes

Aggregation idea 8

Create an automated or manually edited list of the best blogs in your industry

Why this works
Keeping a curated list of the “best of” in a niche, and then keeping it up to date is highly valuable to readers.  There are pros and cons of doing this both ways:  automated means it will continually refresh based purely on popularity like traffic stats and PageRank.  Manually ensures a high degree of quality content due to the fact that each blog has met quality standards by humans, not automated submission.

Three examples
An editorially chosen list
TopRank’s BigList

An automated list where users actively submit their blogs via form
Ad Age’s Power 150 list

Another list sorted by a script where users can submit their blogs via email
Personal Development Blog List

Aggregation idea 9

Create a collection of the top PDF e-books in your niche

Why this works
E-books are a strategy content creators across niches use to showcase high quality content.  They have taken off due to the consulting and advice of many internet marketers, thus creating tons of them – many free – that are easy to access.  Grouping the valuable ones from your niche is a great strategy and huge resource to readers.

A quick example
20 Free E-books about social media

General aggregation tips:

  • Keep SEO in mind when you come up with your aggregation idea.  Inevitably, you’re going to get links for good aggregation, and if done properly it is totally realistic to rank on page one for some big terms.
  • Be prepared to be Dugg/Tweeted into oblivion and see spikes in traffic.  Make sure your host is prepared – if necessary use a caching plugin in WordPress to handle any spikes in traffic.  There’s nothing worse than putting in hours of time into aggregation only to stop it from spreading in its tracks.  I’ve seen plenty of sites get taken down due to this; don’t let it happen to you.
  • Catchy headlines matter – spend as much time considering your headline as you do the aggregation idea itself.
  • Don’t worry about being 100% original, be genuinely useful.  With that said, don’t just steal someone’s idea verbatim; put your own spin on it.
  • The strategies listed here are editorial aggregation based, not scripted/automatically generated.  Some of the same tenants apply during automatic collecting of content, however that requires a different kind of strategy and thinking behind it for success.

Related posts from The Future Buzz

A Path To Rapid Growth: Find Your Formula

Make Your Site Known For Signal, Kill The Noise

45 Blog Post Ideas That Always Generate Buzz

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